Times aren’t good, but print media should not give up: Paresh Nath, Delhi Press

23 Apr,2013


By Ananya Saha


Delhi Press has been on a growth path and much in the news lately: whether it was the acquisition of two-decade-old BS Motoring for an undisclosed amount or tie-up with US-based Highlights to launch two new children’s magazines. Delhi Press has been around since 1939, and has grown steadily from one magazine in 1940 to 35 titles in 2013. According to recent reports, Delhi Press is in talks to buy Man’s World and Rolling Stone magazine, though they prefer not to comment on this.

MxMIndia interviewed Paresh Nath, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Delhi Press to know more.


These are said to be tough times for the media, and magazines (in print) in particular. Why is Delhi Press then on an expansion spree (organic and inorganic)?

Yes, times are not good for print media but one should not give up. We at Delhi Press think that the literacy rate is growing and with more money in pockets the will to purchase magazines is still there.

If magazines seem to be in poorer state, it is because the cover prices of other print product, the daily newspapers, thanks to government advertising subsidy, are low. Magazines are, therefore, not able to distribute free and hence have lower readership. Otherwise interest in magazines will continue to be there and we hope it will grow with increase in literates.


Delhi Press currently has 34 magazines under its fold. How are the magazines doing?

Magazines are stable despite cover price increase. We think that the magazines are medium of choice and one has to make an effort to get one and that is why it is read and taken more seriously than other media. That is our strength. We have no plan to shut any magazine as of now.


Delhi Press has had a rich past… right from the days it was set up pre-Independence, in 1939. How has it been since you’ve taken charge?

Delhi Press had been steadily growing ever since inception. From one magazine in 1940 to 35 magazines now it had been a long and fulfilling journey and members of family and others have contributed to its growth.


How has the magazine reader changed over the years?

Like the society, the readers have also changed. Delhi Press has however been a step ahead. We had started opposing orthodox believes right from beginning and have even faced numerous cases because of our rational and modern approach. For us the change in readers has not been a shock as we had been urging him/her to change all the time. We welcome the change.


Delhi Press already has two titles in its fold that are aimed at kids and young adolescents. Highlights Champ and Highlights Genies were also recently added. Would the magazines not compete with each other (more so, in terms of advertisers)?

It is true that there will be some duplication and overlapping but Champak is in an Indian product and Highlights are foreign magazines. Those with more international outlook might prefer an International brand. In Champak, characters are Indian in Indian background but in Highlights these are more Western. We are sure that the two can survive simultaneously.


For the titles that have regional as well as national language presence, which language is witnessing more growth?

All languages are growing more or less uniformly. As far as our case is concerned we are doing better in Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu and Bangla.


The recent IRS does not show much promise when it comes to magazines. Grihshobha and Champak have shown degrowth as well. Are Indian magazines facing tough times?

We do not have trust in the readership methodology. A Rs 3 publication is being equated with a Rs 30 or Rs 60 publication with no weight being given to the fact that the dailies are thrown around free all over while magazines cannot be as they do not get government money in the form of advertising. Not only that dailies that seem to have grown in recent years, actually grew because these entered into newer geographical territories. Methodology of readership survey is kept secret like nuclear technology. Yes as the magazines do not get government support, these find more difficult to fund money for promotion to retain and gain readers. There is pressure to improve paper and print quality in case of magazines while newspapers continue to be printed on the same newsprint. Indian magazines will continue to suffer as long as there is widespread discrimination.


How is Delhi Press preparing itself for the online reader?

Online readers have not started paying for content as yet and we do not know how to handle this. Content is king but kings do not come free and that seems to be the mantra of on line content. Now new technology is being developed where the content creator is making money and as soon as it is perfected we will jump into it.


Tell us about the the strategy behind the BS Motoring acquisition?

We did not have a lifestyle magazine in our group and this may be a good start.


What are the changes that one would see in this magazine?

Changes will happen but gradually and according to the need. The magazine as it is is well produced and Delhi Press will give it wider spread.


Apart from acquiring, which categories is Delhi Press looking at to launch its own titles?

We are likely to launch language editions of some of our magazines.


When entering into new categories or new titles, what are the challenges that even an established player such as Delhi Press faces?

Challenges are plenty. The advertising is now dispersed and pie has to be shared with dailies and electronic medium. It is not easy to convince the generation used to SMS and Facebook that the real reading is not from screen but from paper where you can pay more attention and do real serious thinking.


How is Caravan doing? In terms of impact and mindspace it has picked up a fair bit… but we don’t see too many ads in it?

We are very satisfied with the progress The Caravan has made. Its editorial team works very hard and has given a good challenge to established players. We miss some ads because of our editorial ethics that we will not promote alcohol, cigarette and pan masala at any cost. Ours is a highly independent group and has no industrial or political connections or financing. Commercial ads will take some time as the advertisers realise that this is no coffee-table magazine and that the reader returns to it again and again.


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One response to “Times aren’t good, but print media should not give up: Paresh Nath, Delhi Press”

  1. Jayashree Baxi says:

    True that print media is going through tough times, But then with the technological advances and speed taking over changes have to be accepted positively. going online and digital is one aspect of it but may be in the present changing scenario one has to also be in sync with the tough competition. I am sure Respected Pareshji is aware of this and he is making the required changes. Wishing Sir all the best and Delhi Press will spread out its wings and fly.

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